In a prime time address Wednesday evening, President Barack Obama is expected to announce plans to begin withdrawing about 10,000 troops from Afghanistan in less than a year. The long war, which began in 2001 in the wake of the September 11 attacks, is finally drawing to a close.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said, "The president is commander in chief. He is in charge of this process, and he makes the decision."
The Associated Press reports that a senior U.S. defense official said that the president’s approach is a phased withdrawal. That means 5,000 troops will come home this summer and another 5,000 will return either by winter or in spring 2012.
The staggered plan will allow U.S. military commander to maintain appropriate troop levels for upcoming combat situations.
The president had met recently with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, to review options. During a White House meeting Tuesday, Obama told his senior national security advisers, including outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, what he was going to do.
The only question is whether a sufficient number of troops will be brought home and in timely enough fashion to satisfy two war-weary vocal groups: members of Congress and the American public.
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